Covid-19 restrictions: Issue 6

As reported in the recently circulated Minutes of the Committee meeting of 25th August, we agreed that the rules about booking the courts were now more complicated than they needed to be, so they have been considerably relaxed. Members may now book any free slot on the calendar without restriction – but use restraint please. It still remains essential to show the full names of all players, coaches or spectators involved.

Another relaxation concerns the clubhouse plastic chairs. If you want to use one, it will be at your own risk. We strongly urge you to clean and sanitise it yourself before you use it, and as a courtesy to your fellow-members, to do the same as you put it away afterwards.

The latest issue of the Covid-19 precautions listing also has the great merit of being the shortest yet! Please take a good look.

And a couple more changes at the clubhouse. We’ve put an open waste bin in the WC to cope with the overflow of used towels and wipes that people keep forgetting to take away themselves when they leave; and a dispenser bottle of hand sanitiser gel will be there too, after today.

Berkshire Handicap

This is the re-titled Blewbury version of this year’s AC All-England Handicap, which was cancelled at National level, but not before we had collected ten individual entries from Blewbury and other nearby clubs. So we decided to play the Blewbury local heat anyway, for the players’ benefit.


The event was played in two American blocks – that’s all-play-all in a block – and the top two in each block qualified for a decider, to be played as two semi-finals followed by a final and a third-place play-off on Sunday, 13th September.

The final standings in the block stage are as shown below. The two semi-finals will be Anthony vs Brian and Peter vs Deirdre.

Berkshire Handicap – Block A – 2020

1Anthony Hardwicke32849
2Deirdre Cochrane32443
3Carol Jamieson31043
4John Harrison30-1235

Berkshire Handicap – Block B – 2020

1Peter Allan433866
2Brian Jamieson431469
3Andy Robertson43255
4Michael Kay41-2242
5Minty Clinch40-3240

The places are decided primarily on number of wins, but if that isn’t enough, tie-breakers are applied in this sequence until a definite order is reached: who beat whom; net hoops scored; total hoops scored; and ultimately, who first reported their final game result to the manager (Paul).

Covid-19: Issue 4 of club rules, effective from 11 July

We have revised the Covid-19 restrictions governing croquet at Blewbury following last week’s revised guidance from the Government and from the Croquet Association. You can read them here on this web site.

  • Controlled roll-up GC sessions are now available on Tuesday and Friday afternoons from 1.30-3.30.  You will still have to register your intent on the booking calendar, both to allow required logging/tracing, and to ensure that no more than 10 people turn up for any such session.  With a max. of 4 players allowed on each court, and potentially 10 people on the premises, priority for play should always be given to anyone “sitting out” during the previous game.
  • We also now allow double-banked singles play, both during those roll-up sessions and at other times.  Again, all names must be shown on a booking, and – outside the roll-up sessions – a 2nd pair may only use the court with the permission of the first pair booking it.

To avoid crowding, the number of people simultaneously allowed on club premises remains limited to 10.  Double-banked doubles is still not allowed.  Nor is there any change in the use of catering or waste facilities in the clubhouse – the kitchen area is decommissioned so we don’t get relays of members trying to use kettles or the fridge in that small space, and you must take home all the waste paper and food or drink containers that you brought with you or generated while at the club – please just remember to bring your own takeaway waste bag with you every time you come, and take it away when you go.

Covid-19: club rules from 21 June, with provision for guest players

We all know that the rules, regulations and guidance keep changing, yet the club is keeping up as best we can. Our latest set of guidelines, which we must treat as binding, are here on this web site. They are intended to be self-contained and consistent with current Government and Croquet Association advice.

Please take the time to read through them.

The one significant change from previous advice is that Club members may now invite guests to play, provided always that the rules about guests are followed. These are:

  • guests may only play at off-peak times, outside the peak 1:30-5:30 periods on Mondays through Fridays;
  • you must include your guests’ names in your court booking;
  • you must make sure your guests know the rules too, and follow them;
  • you must pay the guest fee of £5 per guest per session to the club, by bank transfer if you possibly can, and tell the Treasurer, preferably by email, what your payment is for.

Tournaments come back to Blewbury

On Wednesday 17 June, we held our one-day GC B-level tournament, level play for those with handicaps of 3 and higher. The CA’s tournament guidance had been published a few days earlier; we thought we might have been the first club to go with it – as it turned out, we were the second. Social distancing was the order of the day, and we kept entries down to just six players, though at least twice that number had originally signed up to play.

Peter Adams plays blue
Peter Adams (Caversham) plays the first stroke of the first game, while Neil Stewart (Eynsham) watches and waits to play red.

With staggered start times and no double-banking on either court, the games were all played at a good rate, with just two players waiting to go on as soon as one court was vacated. Each player had been given their own labelled chair well distanced from its neighbours, to use as their base station; and either luckily or by Steve Fisher’s good management, the final game was not only the deciding match of the tournament, pitting Bridget Goodman of Ealing against Caversham’s Peter Adams, but it was a close struggle that went to hoop 13 before Peter finally prevailed 7-6 and took the prize just before the late afternoon rain began.

We expect our next tournament to be the GC C-level equivalent, for handicaps 7+, on Saturday 4 July, and the playing format to be very similar.

Newsletter 2020/1 (January)

Note: The original Newsletter was circulated to Members by email on 31st January. The text now published here has been edited to remove some personal data, as well as the lawns report now published separately on this site.

Here are some short reports and updates from various Committee members.

CLUB SOCIAL – Friday 7th February, East Hagbourne Hall

David Long: (phone :

A reminder that tickets are still available for our quiz night social. Tickets £10 in advance (£12 on the door) from David Long. Friends & family welcome, but feel free to come on your own and be put onto a table with other club members. Soft drinks and ploughman’s supper included in the entry fee. Wines available. Doors open 6.30; quiz starts 7.15.

Internal Communications working group

Steve Fisher:

Your Committee has asked Steve to convene a working group to make improvements to communication within the club. The first task of the group will be to find out what you, the members, want to send and receive – and how. An email will be going out very soon; please consider it carefully and respond. The group will then identify a practical course of action and report back to the committee.

Clubhouse Cleaning Rota

Andy Robertson:

As you may know, June has stepped down from her numerous duties, one of which was organising the monthly club-house cleaning rota. This arduous duty has been taken up by Sue Tilbrook and me, and we are hoping for two pieces of good fortune – firstly that all those on June’s rota last year will continue in 2020, and secondly that we can recruit a few newcomers. If we could get three or four new names, then this would mean that each pair would only have to do two sessions in the whole of this forthcoming year. Sue and I are planning to meet up at the clubhouse on the afternoon of Tuesday next week, 4th February, for a chat on how to proceed, so please join us there or let either of us know if you want to continue/join.

Andy Robertson ( , and Susan Tilbrook

GC Friday Lunch Meetings

David Vincent:

As an experiment David invited all GC players to join him in a series of Friday lunch-time meetings at the Blueberry Inn. The idea was that these meetings would be partly social and partly an opportunity to discuss golf croquet in our club. By having several small meetings it was hoped to enable better round table discussions.

Although not all GC players responded, two successful meetings were held and were both enjoyable and produced useful ideas that will be put into practice. The current plan is to repeat the experiment next year.

Heads-up for National Croquet Week 2020

Paul Wolff:

The National Croquet Open Day in 2019 was a success for us. This year we plan two open afternoons, on Sat. 16th and Sun. 17th May. We’ll build on last year’s format. Please tell me (Paul) if you would like to help me with either the planning and reparation, or with being there on one or both days. At least, you could put the weekend in your diaries!

Qualifications as Coach, or as Assistant or Full Referee

Paul Wolff:

Have you thought about learning how to coach others – you don’t have to be an expert player! – or of studying the Laws and Rules of your code? There are short courses coming up this Spring, and subsidies are available. I’d be very happy to run an extended AC Laws course here myself which ought to help you play, win arguments, and prepare you for a possible future referees or assistant referees course. Let me know if you are interested.

New Club Handicappers Appointed

Paul Wolff:

I’m pleased to say that David Vincent has been appointed Club Handicapper (GC) and Joe King has been appointed Club Handicapper (AC). In their respective codes, David and Joe will be responsible for setting initial handicaps, ensuring the automatic handicap system (handicap cards) is working for you, and adjusting handicaps where appropriate outside the automatic system for players with handicaps down to 3 (GC) or 8 (AC). Watch out for improved handicap cards this coming season!

Court Closure – Update

This Newsletter as published in January contained only a summary of Joe King’s complete report, which you can read here on this web site. In short, we don’t know how soon the courts will dry out. Joe plans to inspect them and post again next week.

Best wishes to you all.

Paul Wolff


Entertaining Watford’s South West Tour

Wednesday 24th July, sunny and warm, and we entertained the Watford tourists at Blewbury for the eighth consecutive year, playing association croquet, mostly level advanced.

The morning’s games saw Joe King(-½) and Steve Fisher(11) lose -1 on time to Geoff Johnson (2½) and John Bee (8) at doubles, Nick Butler (-1) beat Simon Hathrell (-1) +11 after a flying start of hard, accurate shooting and a fourth-turn break, Avril Rangoni-Machiavelli (3) lose to Mark Homan (6) -10 (handicap), and Deirdre Cochrane (4) beat Andre Machell (6) +3 on time, for a match score of 2-2 at the half-way point.

Back on court after we’d all lunched together at the Blueberry, Joe and Avril lost -26 to Simon and Andre in the afternoon doubles (handicap advanced), Paul Wolff (4) lost -19 to Geoff (who had claimed at the start it was his turn to win in the long-standing series between these two), Deirdre lost -1 to Mark, but though Steve beat John +9 it wasn’t enough, and Watford ran out overall winners by 5 to 3 for a flying start to their summer tour.

Watford’s verdict: “We really do enjoy our visit to Blewbury and this year was every bit as good as ever (and the courts better than ever).” Blewbury’s response: Thank you for coming, and we hope to see you again next year.

Blewbury & Phyllis Court Tournament

Keith Pound (High Wycombe) won the annual Midweek Handicap (AC) tournament hosted jointly by the two clubs on 26/27 June, and retained the trophy he won last year.

The ‘home’ contestants, Andy Robertson and Steve Fisher (Blewbury) and Frances Colman, Raghu Iyer, and Richard Peperell (Phyllis Court), were also joined by Colin Britt (from Camerton & Peasedown in Somerset) and Liz Taylor-Webb (all the way from Bowdon in Cheshire) for the event, blessed once again by sunny midsummer weather. Blewbury’s home catering for lunch was praised (thank you, June!), the lawns were newly mown (thank you, Mick!) and white-lined and in excellent condition (thank you, everyone else who had a hand in it!), and all we lacked seemed to be the shade of a pop-up gazebo on the day.

Players and spectators – who says AC is unsociable?